Discover more from Fight Freaks Unite
Notebook: Charlo-Castano II for undisputed junior middleweight title rescheduled
Tszyu-Gausha to headline Showtime card; Probellum to co-promote Conwell with DiBella; Quick hits; Show and tell
A quick note to Fight Freaks Unite readers: If you have upgraded to a paid subscription, thank you! If you have not, please consider doing so to receive the most content. A paid subscription is also your way of keeping this reader-supported newsletter going and supporting independent journalism.
The rematch between Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano for the undisputed junior middleweight title was rescheduled on Thursday.
The bout will take place on May 14 and headline a Showtime card at a site to be determined, a source with knowledge of the plans told Fight Freaks Unite.
Charlo’s three titles and Castano’s belt will all be at stake, which was something that had to be worked out with the WBO.
On Feb. 16, the fight was postponed because Castano suffered a minor right biceps tear and would be sidelined for about a month. It had been scheduled for March 19 at Crypto Arena (the newly renamed Staples Center) in Los Angeles.
Before the fight could be rescheduled, at least with all of the belts at stake, the WBO, whose title Castano holds, had approve it because the mandatory challenger, Tim Tszyu, raised objections about having to wait yet again for his title shot.
However, after hearing from both sides, the WBO on Thursday approved Castano to defend the belt in the fight with Charlo but with strict parameters. In the ruling the WBO issued on Thursday it said the fight is subject to the following conditions:
The fight must take place no later than May 14.
If the fight does not take place, regardless of the circumstances attributed to Castano, the title will be declared vacant.
If Charlo suffers an injury or is unavailable to fight for any reason, Castano must make the mandatory defense next.
Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs), 31, of Houston, and Castano (17-0-2, 12 KOs), 32, of Argentina, fought to a heavily disputed split draw — most thought Castano deserved the victory — for the undisputed 154-pound title on July 17 in a Showtime-televised main event at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
Judge Steve Weisfeld scored it 114-113 for Castano, Tim Cheatham had it 114-114 and Nelson Vazquez had a heavily criticized score of 117-111 for Charlo, who won the 10th, 11th and 12th rounds on all three scorecards to secure the draw.
Tszyu-Gausha tops Showtime card
Part of the deal for the WBO to allow Charlo-Castano II to be rescheduled and still be for its junior middleweight title was satisfying Tszyu, Castano’s mandatory challenger. He did not want the fight sanctioned for the belt because it would extend his wait for a title shot.
Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime, however, were apparently able to satisfy Tszyu because he will meet Terrell Gausha in the main event of a Showtime card on March 26 at The Armory in Minneapolis, sources told Fight Freaks Unite.
Tszyu-Gausha was originally planned as the Charlo-Castano II co-feature when the fight was going to be on March 19. Now, it will move one week later and serve as the main event.
Australia’s Tszyu (20-0, 15, KOs), 27, the son of Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, will make his United States against 2012 U.S. Olympian and Gausha (22-2-1, 11 KO), 34, of Encino, California, who will be coming off a one-year layoff.
The two other bouts slated for the March 26 card, which has not been officially announced, are:
Dominican lightweight Michel Rivera (22-0, 14 KOs), 23, of Miami, against Joseph Adorno (14-0-2, 12 KOs), 22, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, who was recently released by Top Rank in the co-feature.
Cuban junior middleweight prospect Yoelvis Gomez (5-0, 5 KOs), 24, a southpaw based in Las Vegas, against Jorge Cota (30-5, 27 KOs), 34, of Mexico, who is coming off a fourth-round knockout loss to contender Sebastian Fundora last May.
Conwell co-promotional deal
As expected, junior middleweight Charles Conwell, a 2016 U.S. Olympian from Cleveland, will be one of the boxers signed to promoter Lou DiBella who will now be co-promoted by Probellum, which made a deal with DiBella last week to work together on some of DiBella’s fighters.
On Thursday, Probellum (16-0, 12 KOs), 24, announced Conwell had signed a co-promotional deal.
“With Probellum in my corner, I know that I’ll be breathing down the neck of (unified titlist) Jermell Charlo by the end of the year,” Conwell said. “I’m confident I’ll be in a mandatory challenger position where he has no choice but to fight me. And as my nickname suggests, I am ‘Bad News’ for the 154-pound division because I’m coming for those titles and I will get them — mark my words. I’m 16-0 already and ready to step up and become world champion, which is something I am destined to do.”
Conwell is slated to return to the ring this summer. He has been idle since a third-round knockout of Juan Carlos Rubio in August in Cleveland on the undercard of Jake Paul’s first fight with Tyron Woodley.
“Together with DiBella Entertainment we are going to give Charles the platform and opportunities to become world champion at 154 pounds,” Probellum president Richard Schaefer said. “He is a hugely exciting addition to the Probellum ranks and we can’t wait to start working with him.”
Weights from Fresno, California, for Friday’s Top Rank ESPN+ card: Jose Ramirez 139.8 pounds, Jose Pedraza 140; Richard Torrez Jr. 228.2, Allen Melson 201.8; Joet Gonzalez 125.8, Jeo Santisima 125.2; Gabriel Flores Jr. 131.6, Abraham Montoya 131.8; Hector Tanajara 135, Miguel Contreras 134.2; Karlos Balderas 134.2, Aelio Mesquita 131.2; Javier Martinez 161.8, Donte Stubbs 163; Charlie Sheehy 134.2, Johnny Bernal 135; Antonio Mireles 259.4, Brandon Hughes 282.4.
The fight between cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis (28-1, 20 KOs), 37, of Latvia, and Australian southpaw Jai Opetaia (21-0, 17 KOs), 26, has been rescheduled for May 11 at the Gold Coast Convention Center in Broadbeach, Australia. The fight was initially scheduled for April 6 but postponed when Briedis tested positive for Covid-19. A win by IBF titleholder Briedis could propel him into a title unification fight with WBO titlist Lawrence Okolie (18-0, 14 KOs), 29, of England, later in the year.
Along with the rescheduling of the Gennadiy Golovkin-Ryota Murata middleweight unification bout for April 9 (DAZN) in Saitama, Japan, so too were two bouts postponed along with the main event in December. WBO flyweight titlist Junto Nakatani (22-0, 17 KOs), 24, a Japanese southpaw, will defend his title for the second time when he faces Ryota Yamauchi (8-1, 7 KOs), 27, of Japan, who replaces Mexico’s Cristian Gonzalez, and Shuichiro Yoshino (14-0, 11 KOs), 30, and former junior lightweight world titlist Masayuki Ito (27-3-1, 15 KOs), 31, will meet in an all-Japanese regional lightweight title bout.
Australian junior middleweight Nikita Tszyu (1-0, 0 KOs), 24, the son of Hall of fame former undisputed junior welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu and the younger brother of junior middleweight contender Tim Tszyu, won his professional debut on Thursday. He knocked out countryman Aaron Stahl (2-1-1, 0 KOs), 31, in the second round at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in Brisbane, Australia, getting to him with his left hand and dropping him with a combination. Stahl beat the count but Tszyu finished him with a right hand moments later.
The European Boxing Union, which sanctions the European title other European regional belts, announced that it will no longer sanction title bouts involving boxers from Russia or Belarus. It issued a statement that said, “The European Boxing Union, joining the urgent plea of the sports world to cease fire and end the war in Ukraine, will from today on not certify any championship contests involving boxers from Russia and Belarus until further notice. We are united with the boxing world asking for peace and we reject any form of war.”
Injuries have rearranged Showtime’s “ShoBox” card on March 11 (9:35 p.m. ET/PT) in Deadwood, South Dakota, and reduced it from four fights to three. Junior middleweight Ardreal Holmes (11-0, 5 KOs) will face Vernon Brown (13-1-1, 9 KOs) in the 10-round main event. Holmes was slated to face Mekhrubon Sanginov but Sanginov got hurt. Brown was due to fight Hurshidbek Normatov in the co-feature but Normatov also suffered an injury, so Holmes and Brown were matched in the new headliner. Lightweight Luis Acosta (12-0, 11 KOs) faces Edwin De Los Santos (13-1, 12 KOs) in the eight-round co-feature and junior welterweight Giovanni Marquez makes his pro debut against Nelson Morales (2-0, 0 KOs) in the four-round opener. Marquez is the son of “ShoBox” commentator and former world titlist Raul Marquez.
Manny Pacquiao Jr., the 21-year-old son of legendary eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao, will make his amateur boxing debut as a lightweight at a tournament in San Diego on Saturday.
Show and tell
Pernell Whitaker, the former pound-for-pound king and late Hall of Fame legend, was the reigning welterweight champion but could not find a real challenge. So, as a one-shot deal, he went up to junior middleweight to challenge long-reigning titlist Julio Cesar Vasquez. Whitaker toyed with Vasquez and won a lopsided unanimous decision to claim a world title in his fourth weight class. Whitaker then returned to welterweight and continued to defending his title. The fight with Vasquez was on March 4, 1995 — 27 years ago on Friday. Here is a mint program from the fight in my collection.
Charlo-Castano photo: Amanda Westcott/Showtime; Ramirez-Pedraza photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
To upgrade your subscription please go here: https://danrafael.substack.com/subscribe
Thank you so much for your support of Fight Freaks Unite!
Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danrafael1/
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanRafael1
Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanRafaelBoxing